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Psychiatric Medications and Violence - List of Drugs

And Special Discussion of the Risks of Chantix


Updated September 26, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

On Page 1 of this article we discussed the study "Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others," which looks at prescription medications and their association with violent behavior. Of 484 drugs where violent behavior was reported, 31 of those accounted for 79% of the violent events. The table below lists the drugs found by the study to have an increased risk of violent behavior. See Page 1 of this article for discussion of the results.

It is my opinion that except for the highest-listed medication, the anti-smoking drug Chantix, none of these medications needs to be avoided by those with psychiatric illnesses just because they appear in the table.

The study authors noted: "The aggression/violence case series for varenicline [Chantix] ... revealed other features that may or may not occur in cases attributed to other drugs. These features include early onset of psychiatric symptoms (usually within a few days), a senseless act of aggression/violence directed at anyone who happened to be nearby, and resolution of the symptoms upon discontinuation."

Because of this, Chantix should only be used under the close supervision of your psychiatrist.

Source: Moore TJ, Glenmullen J, Furberg CD. Prescription drugs associated with reports of violence towards others. PLoS ONE. 2010 Dec 15;5(12):e15337.

Drugs Associated with Violence Adverse Drug Events

Drug NameDrug Type or UseScore
Chantix (varencycline)Anti-Smoking18
Prozac (fluoxetine)Antidepressant10.9
Paxil (paroxetine)Antidepressant10.3
Adderall (amphetamine)ADHD9.6
Lariam (mefloquine)Treats malaria9.5
Strattera (atomoxetine)Treats ADHD9.0
Halcion (triazolam)Anti-anxiety/sedative8.7
Luvox (fluvoxamine)Antidepressant8.4
Effexor (venlafaxine)Antidepressant8.3
Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)Antidepressant7.9
Singulair (montelukast)Treats breathing issues7.0
Zoloft (sertraline)Antidepressant6.7
Ambien (zolpidem)Sedative6.7
Lexapro (escitalopram)Antidepressant5.0
Xyrem (sodium oxybate)Treats narcolepsy symptoms4.9
Celexa (citalopram)Antidepressant4.3
Abilify (aripiprazole)Antipsychotic4.2
Wellbutrin/Zyban (bupropion)Antidepressant/Anti-Smoking3.9
Geodon (ziprasidone)Antipsychotic3.8
Ritalin (methylphenidate)ADHD3.6
Remeron (mirtazapine)Antidepressant3.4
Neurontin (gabapentin)Anticonvulsant, mood stabilizer, other uses3.3
Keppra (levitiracetam)Anticonvulsant, mood stabilizer3.3
Valium (diazepam)Anti-anxiety, sedative3.1
Xanax (alprazolam)Anti-anxiety, sedative3.0
Cymbalta (duloxetine)Antidepressant2.8
Klonopin (clonazepam)Anti-anxiety, sedative2.8
Interferon alfaLeukemia, some other cancers, hepatitis C2.7
Risperdal (risperidone)Antidepressant2.2
Seroquel (quetiapine)Antipsychotic2.0
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